LIFE LESSONS FROM CUSTOMER SERVICE

Working on the front lines in a customer facing role feels like a crucial life skill that everyone should experience at some point during their working lives. It gives you a certain viewpoint and helps lead to empathy, patience, and kindness towards those workers in the future. For normal people anyways. How could you not want to be kind to a customer service representative if you’ve had the chance to be on the receiving end of the call? Especially knowing how unpleasant some customers are to deal with.

Let’s clear the air and set one thing straight. Rarely is it even the customer service worker’s fault. Did they break the product? No. Did they send out a marketing email promo that doesn’t work? No. Did they go on the coffee run and get your order wrong? No. Did they decide to completely pivot the business model screwing over current customers? No. Did they decide to acquire a rival company? No. Did they make empty promises during the sale? No. Did they fail to complete a thorough product test before shipping the update to production causing a major bug? No. Did they conjure up a storm that knocked out power, and thus the Internet, causing you to lose access to unsaved changes? No. Did they deliver the shipment in a careless way causing damage? No.

I could go on, but I feel like the main point here is very clear: the person you are talking to is merely a middle man attempting to help you, despite it not being their fault. Saints. Granted, you usually can’t go straight to the source, which, honestly, is the smartest thing companies ever implemented. That doesn’t make some of the responses warranted, though. But this post is not about how some of us really need to calm down. No, it’s about what working in the customer service industry teaches an individual.

Mute Buttons are Your Best Friend

Has there ever been a time where you’ve responded to someone without really thinking about what you’re saying, or the potential professional implications of those words? The mute button exists. Use the mute button. Think of it as a trial run. It could save your life.

Some Things Need to Run Their Course

Remember that time when you were really angry and summarized all of your feelings into one, concise sentence? Me neither, because that’s not a thing. Angry is to rambling as white is to rice. They go together – wait out the storm.

Patience Doesn’t Always Work

Patience is a virtue. And Oreos are delicious. Doesn’t mean they’re healthy. There are situations where being passive is not the right choice. Put your best fake smile on and go with blunt honesty. Don’t let the bulldogs walk over you because you appear willing to listen indefinitely.

Some People Are Just Sour Patch Kids

We all know the human Sour Patch Kids. The ones who are sour at first and absolutely ruin your appetite for no reason. Like, I don’t know who peed in your Cheerios this morning, but I did not do, whatever it is you’re upset about, to you. Your complaint isn’t even about our company.

Life is Short, Move On

Not everyone is worth your memory. Deal with it in the moment, then make like a goldfish and forget. Move on! You’ll be happier.

Sometimes It’s Better To Not Say Anything

Would you jump in front of a moving train? I certainly hope not. Know when you need to simply put your headset on the desk and SURF BUZZFEED for a bit until the anger train finally comes to a stop. If you get invested in an article and simply can’t return to the question, ask how it makes them feel to start that steam engine again.

You Won’t Always Have an Answer

There will come a point where you are no longer all-knowing. Where you will need to go find the answer and circle back. Don’t be disappointed, this buys you time and teaches you something! Might as well kill two birds with one stone. Maybe hot head will have cooled down in the meantime.

Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive, And Dodge

When in doubt, follow the 5 D’s of dodgeball: dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge. Throw the department who put you in this mess under the bus. Did I spit on your pizza? No, that must have been an oversight from the cooking staff – I will follow up with them right away. Who me? No you must mean that team over there. Deflect for the win … and for your sanity. Besides they won’t be able to contact the real problem team to confirm.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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LIFE LESSONS FROM COLLEGE

Let’s talk about all the times I use my degree today. Ok, that was fun, moving on. Remember college? Move in with a stranger, who will obviously become your best friend, after a touch of drama, a dorm room bigger than your kitchen at home, classes like once a month, and classy parties where everyone accepts you immediately and you eventually become the hottest human on campus within a week. No? Not your experience? That must just be the Hollywood portrayal, I guess.

What about actual college? The real life version. College was amazing – on the weekends when there were millions of hours to work on my Monday assignments and I had zero cares about anything. I learned so much from my time there. Socially. Also academically, but that has yet to transfer very applicably to life. If we look past the price tag that could buy the entire Tesla S3X lineup, there were some very valuable takeaways:

Everything Has Strings Attached

Just because they give you plastic cups, t-shirts, food, USB chargers, stress toys, pens, etc. every day of the week doesn’t mean it’s free. That’s what your student fees are providing so you better take ALL of it to maximize your investment.

There Are Two Kinds of Smart

Social smart and book smart. One understands that you don’t start to get ready for the party until the party has started and the other arrives exactly on time. Neither is “correct”, but one gets invited back and one doesn’t.

FOMO AKA Networking

Every single event, officially sponsored or not, is an opportunity to network. Career Fair? Yes, duh. Governor’s Ball? Definitely. Class? Sure. Tailgating? Of course. A frat party? Oh, absolutely. Never say no and you’ll have a slightly better chance of landing a big boy / girl job after graduating.

Sleep is Overrated

Who has time to sleep when you have to learn an entire semester’s worth of material in one night? You just have to pass through the ‘I’m tired’ phase into the ‘just kidding, I can stay awake forever’ phase. No caffeine needed, just an airhorn and good friends.

There is a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Tailgate

If you forget any portion of the tailgate triangle you’re doing it wrong. If you don’t know what the tailgate triangle is, then you tailgate wrong for sure. Alcohol, Food, Games.

Everyone Has a Clique

College is the best time to find your people. Social smart, book smart, tailgater, tailgate attempter – doesn’t matter! Everyone has a clique and everyone’s clique is the best. Find what works for you.

Basic Survival Needs Are All Mental

If you’re an “adult” in college, why do we still have to ask to take a bathroom break? Guess I’ll just hold it and hope I don’t get a UTI. You want to breathe? That’s fine, it costs $3 per inhale. Oh, you’re thirsty because it’s a billion degrees outside and you’ve been standing in a stadium all day? Water is $45 a bottle 🙂

Weekend 24 Hours and Weekday 24 Hours are Not the Same

A day on the weekend supposedly has 24 hours, but somehow ends in about a quarter of the time as a weekday? Alright, Father Time, I see you, and I don’t appreciate what you’re doing here. If you could just flip that equation, that would be great.

If You’re Bored, You’re Doing it Wrong

There is never not something to do. Maybe you just need to look harder? Or, maybe whatever is happening doesn’t interest you? Well, that’s what friends and Netflix are for – make your own adventure.

Hollywood Is a Liar

My college experience was … very different … from how all the shows and movies made it seem. You actually have to go to class, and, even if you don’t, they still take your money, but kick you out. Nobody on TV has “class”, what is this BS?

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this and want to share it with them, that would seriously mean a lot to me. I’m so grateful to all the current readers and subscribers. If you want to get these in your inbox twice weekly don’t forget to subscribe. Thanks for reading!


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BACK-TO-SCHOOL SURVIVAL PLAYLIST

Can we all agree that back-to-school shopping is the best thing about actually going back to school? Your parents are happy because everything is (slightly) cheaper than it was in July and you’re happy because you’re about to roll up on day 1 like a freaking rockstar in your fresh clothes and accessories with the tags still on it. Back in my day, which was longer ago than I’m comfortable admitting to the Internet, we always got new spiral notebooks (because the composition ones were so last generation), super fancy pens/pencils/highlighters/markers/anything that marks a piece of paper basically, the good erasers (the ones for the art students that could erase anything – including the bad memories of having to erase the entire writing test and start over because you realized at the end it had nothing to do with the ridiculous given prompt), some sort of binder, at least one new outfit, and if we were lucky, a new backpack. By lucky, clearly I mean if we were clever enough to “wear out” our one from the previous year with the rigorous demands of learning.

Today, however, I’m assuming the children roll up on hoverboards with their smart backpacks containing the latest, greatest smartphone, tablet, and TI calculator (the ones that essentially pass math for you). Most likely with a smartwatch on their wrist, and shoes that cost more than my grocery bill. Nothing makes you feel less successful than seeing a child have better style, and technology, than you … a hard-working, money making adult. It’s fine, whatever, I’m over it. At least I can drive myself to Target whenever I want and buy all of the Chewy Chips Ahoy for “sharing” with others. And by others I clearly mean my mouth and my stomach.  

So with all the back-to-school excitement, everyone needs a hype playlist to set the mood for not only the first day, but the whole first week. Then reality sets in and just getting dressed in the morning is a struggle, so the next 175(ish) days are just going to be what they are. There are certain rules when creating said playlist, though:

  1. The playlist must last at least your entire commute, but preferably from the time you begin getting dressed until the bell rings for the first class and you’ll get detention if you don’t turn it off
  2. The playlist theme must center around how you are the sh*t and no one can tell you different
  3. The sub-theme must center around how you make your own way, don’t worry about the haters who think you’ll never make it (including the counselor from last year who is all like ‘graduation isn’t guaranteed, you have to meet minimum grade requirements to walk and proceed to the next grade ’… blah, blah, blah I’ll write my own story thank you)
  4. The first song needs to have a solid beat that you could / have danced to at some point. Preferably it makes you want to dance in a way that will shock some people who don’t know the real you
  5. The last song needs to have a parting message about actually getting sh*t done so you can end it and be like ‘I’m about to own this school year, ready or not, HERE I COME
  6. The songs in between need to be a balance of a good beat and lyrics that you can get behind. What does that mean? Essentially, those lyrics should be motivational quotes bouncing around in your head to get that quick hype hit in the middle of History class

It’s that simple really. Look at all the insanely successful people in the world and I would bet at some point they listened to a song and got inspired. I have zero evidence that any of them did a specific back-to-school playlist, but who’s to say you can’t be the first? For all you podcast addicts out there, take the same rules and apply them to podcasts. Since those tend to be slightly longer, you can do it over a week, or you can put all of them on triple time and try to still get the same inspiration from them … your choice.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who makes great playlists, maybe hit them up because a mediocre playlist could result in a mediocre year and nobody wants that. Thanks for reading!


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CONFIDENCE V. COCKINESS – THE STORY OF A FINE LINE

Everyone strives to be confident in life. The feeling where you are self-assured and nothing can get to you. How you dress, how you act, what you do, what you eat, how much you eat, how little you work out, what your hobbies are, who your friends are – everything. Is that person throwing the side-eye and definitely hard core judging you? You don’t care. You’re cool as a cucumber. Fly as a butterfly. Stinging like a bee. Swiping like a boss. It’s sexy. It’s healthy. It’s strong. It’s a good way to be successful … well, at least according to Hollywood.

Sometimes, though, very unfortunately, confidence crosses the line into an entirely different territory known as cockiness. Now, I understand how this is confusing to people. Both start with a ‘co’, both have 9 letters, both have 3 syllables, both have kind of similar letters, both inflate your ego to where you wake up and love seeing who’s staring back at you in the mirror, both kind of sound the if you say them quick enough for an extended period of time. 

As a blogger, I feel a need to educate the public on the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of cockiness to keep everyone in the happy, healthy, goal-attaining place that is confidence. Let’s start with the symptoms. How can you tell if someone has crossed the threshold into cockiness? Well, for starters, they’ll tell you all about it. How great they are, how beautiful they are, what they do for work, what they’ve got going for them, how everyone wants them, how the world simply doesn’t see their potential, etc. Then, they’ll walk away mid-convo because you aren’t worth their time anymore. Sound like someone you know? Is that someone you? Don’t worry, there are treatment options.

If you, or a loved one, or a random stranger who approached you, are experiencing the above symptoms, here are the (unofficial, and not scientifically, or medically, backed) treatment options. The most recommended one is to simply remove all sources of arrogance and conceitedness by deflating the ego. One can be creative here, but verbal cues that a cocky person is not who they think they are tend to be effective. However, you will need examples to back this up. ‘No, you don’t have a music deal about to come through because you have never once recorded anything.’ ‘I understand that everyone wants you, but somehow you blow up my phone every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights because you’re bored.’ ‘Oh, that makes sense, you were the greatest pole vaulter in school history. Except that the team cut you on the first day for not attending tryouts.’ Adjust to match your specific situation.

Another option is to encourage said person to help others. Volunteering, seeing the world in a new light, being helpful towards other human beings in a way that doesn’t involve talking about yourself, all can help soften a heart and open the eyes. Help someone to help yourself. If they are highly against doing some volunteer work or community service, Jesus is always a solid option as well.

If the above treatment options don’t work, you can pretend to get on their level and attempt to out-cocky them. A word of caution, though, once you reach that level for an extended period of time you could become confused on what’s happening to you and also turn into a meathead. Hopefully there are people who care about you and can bring you back to reality.

Finally, prevention. This sounds like something everyone should avoid so how can we prevent it in ourselves? Listen before speaking. Think before speaking. Try targeting what’s in your head at yourself and see if you receive it well, before speaking. Care about others. But, like, actually care. If someone is feeling some type of way, be there for them, listen to what they’re struggling with, and sympathize with that. All the while, not caring if it means you have to miss out on another party. Funny thing about preventing cockiness, is you’ll probably pick up that confidence along the way. You’ll trust yourself and the decisions you make. That is essentially the condensed Google definition so I don’t know what other evidence you need.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who is experiencing the devastating symptoms of cockiness, pass this along and they can reach out if they don’t agree. If you yourself are concerned about falling into the black hole, follow the prevention methods and you’ll be golden. Thanks for reading!


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